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BlackBerry hungry for rivals’ mobile market share as Q10 keyboard smartphone arrives in Oz

Paul Smith (via AFR) | July 2, 2013
BlackBerry has not given up the hope of challenging Apple and Google's Android in the mobile market share stakes.

BlackBerry will not yet break out sales numbers for devices running on BB10. Its operating system has received many positive reviews, but concerns remain that it will fails make a ­significant dent in the marketplace.

Between them, Apple's iOS and Android have 92.3 per cent of the ­global smartphone market, according to research firm IDC's latest numbers. BlackBerry has been jostling with Microsoft for third spot - a position Mr Ball said BlackBerry has a firm hold on - however IDC's numbers showed ­Windows Phone crept past BlackBerry for third place in the first quarter.

"I have an aggressive but realistic ­target to end this financial year from a market share perspective. I can't ­disclose that, but it is significant," Mr Ball said.

"I don't think any company sits ­comfortably as third platform, our aspiration is larger than that.

"I have respect for Microsoft as an organisation, they continue to show strong growth in most segments that they operate in, but as well as having majority share in the enterprise mobility space . . . we have a number of elements that to be frank, Microsoft doesn't have."

These areas are related to security and the ability for businesses to manage a fleet of BlackBerry phones in a more scalable way to other devices.

Telsyte analyst Foad Fadaghi said the Q10 was a natural upgrade for those businesses that had previously standardised on the BlackBerry platform.

"Many business users that are issued Blackberrys prefer keyboard input due to habit, tactile feedback and email-intensive nature of their roles," Mr Fadaghi said. "As Blackberry has never been a leading consumer smartphone brand in Australia, it has managed to ­maintain its single-figure market share through a small loyal base and a minor boost from the new models. ­Blackberry's fortunes lie in markets where it's a household brand, like ­Indonesia, and in its mobile device management (MDM) offerings where it has a strong existing user base."

Making itself a key player in the broader mobile computing space is a strategy that has been flagged by BlackBerry chief executive Thorsten Heins.

This means that it wants its services and platforms to become de facto standards regardless of whether users are using them on BlackBerry devices or not. Earlier this year Mr Heins shocked some long-time company watchers by flagging plans to let its BlackBerry ­Messenger platform run on Apple and Android devices.

It had always been seen as a big drawcard for someone to buy a BlackBerry, but he is willing to sacrifice some sales in order to have people communicating on BlackBerry platforms.

This push was highlighted last week with a company announcement that its BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 MDM offering would now allow Android and iPhone users to use the BlackBerry Secure Work Space system to separate work documents from personal ­documents on their smartphones.


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